The Daring Bakers Make Povitica!

The Daring Baker’s October 2011 challenge was Povitica, hosted by Jenni of The Gingered Whisk. Povitica is a traditional Eastern European Dessert Bread that is as lovely to look at as it is to eat!

I am soo soo excited to be this month’s Daring Bakers’s Host, and I hope that you really like what I have chosen! I
was first introduced to Povitica from a friend of mine (Hi Brianne!!). We happened to be at
the Farmer’s Market and when we passed a particular booth selling specialty
breads, and she just went ecstatic. She and her family have been buying these
loaves of bread every holiday season, and she was very excited to see them in
the middle of the summer. I didn’t know what the excitement was about, but the
loaves of bread were beautiful, and when sliced, had delicate circular designs
on each slice.  Each loaf is filled
with a sweet filling and rolled, and weighs an amazing 2.5 pounds! It was
amazing, delicious, and I promptly bought one.

(pronounced po-va-teet-sa) is traditional Eastern European dessert bread that
is traditionally served during the holiday season.  It is also known as Nutroll, Potica, Kalachi, Strudia, just
to name a few. Family recipes and the secrets on how to roll the bread so thin
was passed down through generations of families.  However, the tradition of baking this type of bread has
become somewhat of a dying art form, and I thought it would be a wonderful
opportunity for us to learn to make this wonderful sweet bread.
tasting the wonderful bread we had bought at the Farmer’s Market, I knew I
needed to learn how to make this myself. Especially since that one single loaf
cost an arm and a leg ($25! Really! For one loaf!) I spent days and days trying
to find recipes online, but I didn’t have any luck (however I just did a search
the other day and it seems that a few recipes have sprung up in the meantime). After
much research, I created my own recipe for povitica that I think is a very
close match to the delicious loaf of bread I splurged on at the Farmer’s
Market. And I am soo excited that I got to share this with the Daring Bakers, and now you! 
traditional filling for this bread is an English walnut filling, but other
typical fillings also include poppy seed, apple/cinnamon, apricot preserves, and a sweet
cheese (like cream cheese).
The Daring Bakers community did a fantastic, awesome, wonderful job making povitica! They came up with some fantastic fillings, and all their loaves look truly great! I highly recommend you check out what they made at The Daring Bakers Blogroll

The recipe calls for using a sheet on top of your
workspace. This is not necessary, but I did find that it was easier to roll out
my dough with one. The dough is very sticky, and using the lightly floured
sheet helps to keep the dough from sticking too badly. It also helps that you
can move the sheet around as you work, and you can also move to a clean area of
the sheet for each loaf that you roll out. I also found that I was able to roll
my dough out thinner with the use of a sheet.The sheet is also used for rolling
the povitica up, but again, it is not necessary. And all my dough and filling
goo washed out perfectly, so no problems there! If you decide not to use a
sheet, a pastry scrapper will come in very handy when you roll up your dough.
There are two ways that you can roll the dough up.
If you watch the video under “Additional Information” you can see that the
sheet is lifted and used as momentum for rolling the dough up. This technique
takes a bit of finesse, but I encourage you to try it out. However, the dough
can be rolled up by hand, like you would if you were making cinnamon rolls.

During the second rising time, after the dough has been filled or rolled, you have a decision to make. If you want a more dense loaf, allow the bread to rise for 15 minutes before baking it (as the recipe states). If you want your bread to be less dense and lighter, allow it to rise for a full hour before baking it. 

make Dough:
Rising: 1 hour and 30 minutes
and Assembly:
minutes per loaf, a generous total of 1 hour
Baking: 1 hour
Cooling: 30 minutes
Make the Filling:

15 minutes, including the grinding of the nuts

Povitica (makes 4 loaves)
activate the Yeast:
Teaspoons Sugar
Teaspoon All-Purpose Flour
Cup Warm Water
Tablespoons Dry Yeast
Cups Whole Milk
Cup Sugar
Teaspoons Table Salt
Large Eggs
Cup Unsalted Butter, melted
cups Sifted All-Purpose Flour,
approximately, divided
Cup Cold STRONG Coffee
Tablespoons  Granulated Sugar

Activate Yeast:
1 1. In a small bowl, stir 2 teaspoons sugar, 1
teaspoon flour, and the yeast into warm water and cover with plastic wrap.
2. Allow to stand for 5 minutes

Make the Dough:
3.     In a medium saucepan, heat the milk up to
just below boiling (about 180 F or 82 C), stirring constantly so that a film
does not form on the top of the milk. You want it hot enough to scald you, but
not boiling. Allow to cool slightly, until it is about 110 degrees.
4.     In a large bowl, mix the scalded milk, ¾ cup
sugar, and the salt until combined.
5.     Add the beaten eggs, yeast mixture, melted
butter, and 2 cups of flour.
6.     Blend thoroughly and slowly add remaining
flour, mixing well until the dough just starts to clean the bowl. Don’t add too much flour at this point, you still want it to be fairly wet and sticky.
7.     Turn dough out onto floured surface and
knead, gradually adding flour a little at a time, until smooth and does not
stick. Note: I did not use all 8 cups of

8.     Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces (they
will each weight about 1.25 pounds)
9.     Place dough in 4 lightly oiled bowls, cover
loosely with a layer of plastic wrap and then a kitchen towel and let rise an
hour and a half in a warm place, until doubled in size.

Roll and Assemble the Dough:
10.  Spread a clean sheet or cloth over your
entire table so that it is covered.
11.  Sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons to a
handful of flour (use flour sparingly)
12.  Place the dough on the sheet and roll the
dough out with a rolling pin, starting in the middle and working your way out,
until it measures roughly 10-12 inches in diameter.
13.  Spoon 1 to 1.5 teaspoons of melted butter on
14.  Using the tops of your hands, stretch dough
out from the center until the dough is thin and uniformly opaque. You can also
use your rolling in, if you prefer.

15.  As you work, continually pick up the dough
from the table, not only to help in stretching it out, but also to make sure
that it isn’t sticking.
16.  When you think it the dough is thin enough,
try to get it a little thinner. It should be so think that you can see the
color and perhaps the pattern o the sheet underneath.

17.  Spoon filling (see below for recipe) evenly
over dough until covered.

18.  Lift the edge of the cloth and gently roll
the dough like a jelly roll.

19.  Once the dough is rolled up into a rope,
gently lift it up and place it into a greased loaf pan in the shape of a “U”,
with the ends meeting in the middle. You want to coil the dough around itself,
as this will give the dough its characteristic look when sliced.

220.  Repeat with remaining three loaves.
221.  Brush the top of each loaf with a mixture of
½ cup of cold STRONG coffee and 2 tablespoons of sugar. If you prefer, you can
also use egg whites in place of this.

22.  Cover pans lightly will plastic wrap and
allow to rest for approximately 15 minutes.
223.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
24.  Remove plastic wrap from dough and place
into the preheated 350-degree oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes.
25.  Turn down the oven temperature to 300
degrees and bake for an additional 45 minutes, or until done.
26.  Remove bread from oven and brush with melted
27.  Check the bread every 30 minutes to ensure
that the bread is not getting too brown. You may cover the loaves with a sheet
of aluminum foil if you need to.
28.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a
wire rack for 20-30 minutes.
29.  It is recommended that the best way to cut
povitica loaves into slices is by turning the loaf upside down and slicing with
a serrated knife.

Walnut Filling
7 Cups (Metric and Imperial conversions) Ground
English Walnuts
1 Cup (Metric and Imperial conversions) Whole Milk
1 Cup (Metric and Imperial conversions) Unsalted
2 Whole Eggs, Beaten
1 Teaspoon (Metric and Imperial conversions) Pure Vanilla  Extract
2 Cups (Metric and Imperial Conversions) Sugar
1 Teaspoon (Metric and Imperial Conversions)
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 Teaspoons (Metric and Imperial Conversions)
1.     In a large bowl mix together the ground
walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and cocoa.
2.     Heat the milk and butter to boiling.
3.     Pour the liquid over the nut/sugar mixture.
4.     Add the eggs and vanilla and mix thoroughly.
5.     Allow to stand at room temperature until
ready to be spread on the dough.
6.     If the mixture thickens, add a small amount
of warm milk.
      Here is a recipe for a traditional poppy seed filling, as donated by Daring Baker Bojana of Kitchen Love. This is her family’s recipe.
     600 g ground poppy seeds
250 g sugar
200 ml hot milk
150 g raisins (optional)
1 vanilla sugar or vanilla pod scraped. 
     Grind poppy seeds fine, they will go from gray to indigo or black in colour. Mix dry ingredients and then add boiling hot milk to it. If it seems too thin, cook for few minutes.

Additional Information:  Include links to videos or information that can be of
assistance to members.

are several options for storing (and eating) your four loaves of povitica:
povitica will keep fresh for 1 week at room temperature.
povitica will keep fresh for 2 weeks if refrigerated.
povitica can be frozen for up to three months when wrapped a layer of wax paper
followed by a layer of aluminum foil. It is recommended to not freeze povitica
with cream cheese fillings as it doesn’t hold up to being thawed really well –
it crumbles.

is a promotional video from a company that makes it, Strawberry Hill, but it
shows them rolling the povitica.

I am submitting this recipe/ post to Yeastspotting, a weekly collection of all things bread! 


  • Reply
    shelley c.
    October 27, 2011 at 11:12 AM

    Thank you so much for introducing me to povitica!! This was a wonderful (and DELICIOUS!) challenge and you were a fantastic, energetic, encouraging, sweet hostess!! This is definitely a keeper recipe that I plan to make over and over.

  • Reply
    Happy Cook / Finla
    October 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Thankyou so much for choosing this challenge. The momen i saw what was the challenge i was so excited and I made it in two days. you woudn't believe the excitment was in my home while i was making this bread and I was so excited aobut the end result that I skyped my sis and showed it to her and then you can imagine teh ohhhhhhhh and woooooooooow from the other side 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected] in disguise
    October 27, 2011 at 12:15 PM

    Thank you so so much for an amazing challenge
    I will be making this again and again.
    You were a woderful supportive hostess this month, thank you again

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Can't thank you enough, Jenny! Povitica was an absolute hit! And you were an excellent hostess. I think everyone's in love with this loaf 🙂
    Congratulations on the choice and on all the hard work putting this challenge together for us. I loved every bit of it!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    Thanks for a great challenge, Jenni! I had never heard of Povitica before, so you opened my eyes to a new treat. I'll definitely be making it again (and again). Thanks for all your encouragement and inspiration this month!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 2:52 PM

    What a gorgeous loaf of bread! It's always a great idea to keep traditional recipes from dying out.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    Great challenge! I loved and had so much fun with it. Thanks
    Best, Sandie

  • Reply
    Alpineberry Mary
    October 27, 2011 at 4:50 PM

    Thank you so much Jenni for hosting. I loved the povitica and I will be using the recipe over and over again.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Such a wonderful recipe this month.. I only had the chance to make one loaf, but I am so inspired to try again using some of the ideas I got from the forum. Thank you!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 6:53 PM

    Thank you so much for this fantastic challenge which brought me back to my childhood, but introduced a very welcome "innovation" to this. Your step-by-step instructions with pictures were very much appreciated!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    I make Potica every Christmas. I learned from my grandma. But now you're making me want it now! I might have to make it early this year 😀

    I really like the way you've coiled it on top of itself in a loaf pan. We always just coil it around itself on a cookie sheet but it looks even cooler the way you've done it. I may have to try that this year 🙂

  • Reply
    Ruth Ellis
    October 27, 2011 at 9:07 PM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! For such a fantastic and delicious challenge – I'm eating a piece of my Povitica now, and browsing all the fantastic ones people have made. Brilliant :o) Your instructions were great and enabled some amazing creations!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Not an original comment, but another massive vote of thanks from me Jenni. You were a great host and this recipe is amazing – I'm utterly in awe of you for creating it!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Thank you so much I loved this challenge Your povitica is beautiful and I love all the pictures they helped me a lot since my English sometimes does not help me ha ha ha

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 10:41 PM

    Thank you for amazing challenge! 🙂 Whole family loved it 🙂

  • Reply
    Hannah Grunzke
    October 27, 2011 at 11:03 PM

    Having never heard of this bread or seen it before, I can't thank you enough! I joined the Daring Bakers club to challenge me to learn how to bake with hopes of someday having the ability to get creative with baking and bread making. I now have a flurry of ideas for fillings for this crazy amazing bread! and it's only my 4th challenge, so I really owe you and the Daring Baker forum posters a big thank you!!!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    What a wonderful Povitika you have here! I just love this recipe – thank you so much for hosting and for introducing us to this lovely bread.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 12:29 AM

    wow..sounds absolutely yummm n delicious…excellent try..
    first time here …love your space..
    awesome posts with nice presentation..
    Am your happy follower now..;)
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  • Reply
    Cookie Kelly
    October 28, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    $25 for a loaf? Wow, I definitely get why you learned how to make it. Was a great challenge, thanks!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    thanks for the recipe and the great step by step pics! they were very useful to me! you were a great host!

  • Reply
    Amy @ ElephantEats
    October 28, 2011 at 1:41 AM

    Your challenge came out beautifully! Congrats 🙂

  • Reply
    The Capitol Baker
    October 28, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    Thanks for such a wonderful challenge!!

  • Reply
    Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    October 28, 2011 at 3:05 AM

    Jenni thank you so much for a wonderful challenge-and a recipe that I'll forever keep because it is just a winner all round! 🙂

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 3:43 AM

    Thank you for such an awesome challenge,my friend. I never would have made povitica if not for you due to it being a bit laborious and tough, but wow, the crumb, the filling, the flavor…love it, and loved your recipe even though I botched it up lol Great hosting job, and beautiful povitica!

  • Reply
    The Betz Family
    October 28, 2011 at 4:59 AM

    Thanks for the great challenge and step by step photos! Nice job!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    Thank you so much for choosing this as our challange. I'd never heard of Povitica before but I love it! Will make it again. Thanks 🙂

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 7:06 AM

    Thank you so much Jenni. Great challenge and I really LOVED it. I couldnt stop clicking pictures of my finished povitica, it looked really great – thanks to your detailed stepwise pictures and instructions 🙂

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Thank you so much Jenni for this wonderful challenge. I absolutely loved Povitica and I will try it again and again and again until I reach perfection. Big hug from Madrid-Spain 🙂

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 11:24 AM

    Another big thankyou from me Jenni – this was one of my favorite challenges so far, it looks and tastes amazing. WIN!!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 12:01 PM

    Thanks Jenni for a fantastic challenge! I love the bread and will be making it again, using your recipe, which was perfect. I can't wait to try different fillings, and maybe I will make 4 loaves next time, as they don't last long!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 3:47 PM

    Kudos on a fabulous challenge! This is one of those recipes I see myself making again and again, and I wouldn't have tried it without you! My family says thanks too…lol…

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 8:25 PM

    Thank you Jenni this wonderful challenge!I love it so much!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 11:11 PM

    Jenni, I have to thank you for such a wonderful challenge this month!!! It was so much fun to try a very new technique…and have it turn out so beautiful and delicious!! So nice to meet you, too~

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 11:14 PM

    Jenni, you know I LOVE this recipe! Thank you so much for choosing it! Thank you also for putting in so much effort in ensuring a no fail recipe! And thank you for your comments on my blog! You have been a very gracious host!

  • Reply
    Barbara Bakes
    October 29, 2011 at 2:25 AM

    Such a fabulous challenge! I ran out of time to make it, but printed it off and hope to get it made for the holidays.

  • Reply
    The Cowboy's Wife
    October 29, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    You are amazing, I owe you big time for this recipe! It is really impressive that you put it together yourself! Thank you, thank you!

  • Reply
    October 29, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    I just loved this challenge, Jenni. Thank you so much! I'm going to have to hide the recipe or I won't stop making (and eating) it. Definitely trying the walnut filling next. Thanks again. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mmm... is for Mommy
    October 30, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    Thank you for such an amazing recipe 🙂 It's going to wow a lot of people and it really isn't too difficult.

  • Reply
    Deeba PAB
    October 30, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    What a fabulous challenge you picked for the month Jenni. It's the best sweet dough bread I have ever made, and the prettiest too. I was late making it. Just got the challenge done yesterday and the bread is already down to it's last slice. The recipe is a keeper, and the art AMAZING! Thank you!

  • Reply
    November 1, 2011 at 6:22 PM

    Thank you for hosting this month's challenge. It was delicious and your looks great!

  • Reply
    November 1, 2011 at 8:17 PM

    What a fun challenge! And delicious, too. Thanks for hosting it. And nice work on your own loaves!

  • Reply
    November 1, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    Thank you for the lovely compliment on my Potivitica! I feel honoured that the host herself commented on my post. Your blog is beautiful!

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 12:37 AM

    Jenni, thanks for a wonderful challenge and for introducing me to a wonderful bread that I will definitely be making again. Thanks for checking out my post also. I have to say that I have a new routine of warming a large hunk of the bread in the microwave for 30 seconds and serving with well chilled cream on return home every day! Heaven, you should try it! THANK YOU! Poppy

  • Reply
    November 2, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    Thanks for this great challenge! I'm going to be making some more before Thanksgiving…my dad wants to try the cheese one! I am a 3rd year resident in pediatrics. The three years will go by so much faster than you think it will.

  • Reply
    Detalhe a Detalhe
    November 2, 2011 at 12:36 PM

    Congratulations on your wonderful job in hosting the DB's challege.

    It was a success at home. Thank you!

  • Reply
    November 3, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    Thank you so much Jenni for introducing me to something so new and so delicious! I'm definitely going to make it again with walnuts this time, and I'm going to roll the dough much thinner (I was rushing so my swirls were a bit wide). In the meantime, I'm slowly working my way through the two loaves my fussy family wouldn't eat (their loss.) So glad you gave us refrigerating/ freezing instructions on how to keep our bread.

    Thanks again!

  • Reply
    November 4, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    I found a pic of this on pintrest and followed it to your blog. I live in Butte, MT where many Europian people settled. Povitica is well know in this town. My grandmother taught me to make it. With the older generation dying fewer and fewer people know how to make it. I make mine in bundt pans and usually make about 150 of them at Christmas time. Mine does not have chocolate in it so I will have to try it. You did a great job explaining how to make it.

    • Reply
      November 12, 2012 at 2:24 AM

      They would be lovely in a bundt pan! But more dangerous as there would be more for me to eat! 🙂 150 at a time is quite an undertaking! I am sure all your friends and family love it!

  • Reply
    November 21, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    I loved loved loved the October challenge. I thought that you gave one of the most thoughtful and thorough challenges ever. Thanks so much. You are a gem!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    How big are the loaf pans used to make this bread? Thanks.

    • Reply
      November 12, 2012 at 2:23 AM

      Hi Lena! Use a regular loaf pan (like what you would use for a loaf of quick bread). You could also make mini ones, which would be really cute! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sourdough Chocolate Cinnamon Babka – The Gingered Whisk
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    […] had never actually heard about Babka until Oct 2011 when I hosted the Daring Bakers Challenge to make Povitica! Shelley and her sister Ruth asked if Povitica and Babka were similar. After some research I […]

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